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The Last King Of Scotland [2006] - ú6.98

As the evil Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, Forest Whitaker gives an unforgettable performance in The Last King of Scotland. Powerfully illustrating the terrible truth that absolute power corrupts absolutely, this fictionalised chronicle of Amin's rise and fall is based on the acclaimed novel by Giles Foden, in which Amin's despotic reign of terror is viewed through the eyes of Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy), a Scottish doctor who arrives in Uganda in the early 1970s to serve as Amin's personal physician. His outsider's perspective causes him to be initially impressed by Amin's calculated rise to power, but as the story progresses--and as Whitaker's award-worthy performance grows increasingly monstrous--The Last King of Scotland turns into a pointed examination of how independent Uganda (a British colony until 1962) became a breeding ground for Amin's genocidal tyranny. As Whitaker plays him, Amin is both seductive and horribly destructive--sometimes in the same breath--and McAvoy effectively conveys the tragic cost of his character's naivetÚ, which grows increasingly prone to exploitation. As directed by Kevin Macdonald (who made the riveting semi-documentary Touching the Void), this potent cautionary tale my prompt some viewers to check out Barbet Schroeder's equally revealing documentary General Idi Amin Dada, an essential source for much of this film's authentic detail. --Jeff Shannon

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.0):

Rating: 3:
A good, solid film with 2 excellent performances : This is Forest Whitakers movie without question. Watching Whitaker one can easily believe that one is watching Amin himself. He dominates every scene he is in. James McAvoy also puts in a good performance as the rather weedy, na´ve and I thought wholly dislikeable "spoiled" middle-class dilettante, Nicholas Garrigan; a man completely out of his element and in turn exploited by Amin. One can perhaps sympathise with Dr. Junju's moral assessment of Garrigan at the denouement.

Kevin McDonald does a good job in developing the narrative and in creating tension. The mounting pressure on Garrigan as he realises the extent of Amin's purges is almost tangible, as he makes an effort to flee the country. However, I think there should have been a stronger focus on Amin himself. Although a monster, he is a much more interesting character than the irresponsible Garrigan, who I didn't really care much for. When he bleats out that he "wants to return to Scotland", after the damage he has done, then one secretly wishes that Amin would dispose of him, which he does anyway in the movie's most disturbing scene.

Overall a good, solid film and both entertaining and at times harrowing but nothing remarkable.

Rating: 5:
Whitaker's film from beginning to end : The book was good, and the film doesn't disappoint. Whitaker is superb as the dictator, ranging from extreme anger to jolliness in seconds, and showing why he was feared but also why he was loved (and, if the extra footage is to be believed, still is in some areas.) Like Ganz in "Downfall", he delivers a performance that explains the inexplicable, how people could be devoted to a monster. Given the hugeness of his performance, the other members of the cast struggle to be seen, but all perform well - a special plaudit for Simon McBurney as a slimy British diplomat - and it is good to see African actors used. The crowd scenes are particularly well done.

Rating: 5:
Heart of Darkness : First off...this is a stunning movie superbly directed by Kevin ..'Touching the Void'...MacDonald.. Of course, Forest Whittaker quite rightly takes the plaudits for his uncanny portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
The dark journey from liberator to tyrant is perfectly paced with Whittaker's Amin initially provoking sympathy and admiration through his charm and naievity. However, Amin's dark suspicious heart casts a veil of terror over his brutally oppressed nation.
His young Scottish physician and closest confidant is perfectly played with full emphasis on his psychological imperfections and tragic hubris by James McAvoy.
Not a film where they all lived happily ever after but an absolute must see nevertheless.

Rating: 4:
This is not a Gillian Anderson movie! : For those who watched this movie becos of Gillian Anderson, then you'd be greatly disappointed. You're better off getting an X-Files Box Set. This movie is about how a madman gains power, uses his charm to deceive the press & even our naive Scotsman who plays our doctor. It shows how men in power become greedy, disillusioned and them maniacally paranoid. Nicholas the hero, goes to Uganda seeking a bit of adventure and gets more than he bargains for when he agrees to be Ahmin's physician and advisor. It is brutal and sadistic at some points but that is the truth. And yes, Whittaker plays the dictator well, he swings from best friend to madman in minutes which what makes men like Ahmin scary and unpredictable. It is based on a true person so people who watched this expecting hollywood action, gore and a lots of opportunities to drool over G.Anderson, well yes, you won't see what's so great about the movie.

Rating: 5:
Legend Of A Film! : People who can't see why this is so good, must be as thick as hell. Sticking to the real life story as close as possible you understand in full detail the history of this madmans reign. Every actor playing their part to it's best this film includes everything needed for a true classic.

The environment is so real in the film (my dad has been there) and gives a sense of alien culture to what we are usually used to. This film truly presents it's facts in such a way to attract the audience. Whitaker truly makes this film his by his presence and portrayole of Idi Amin. A must see for everybody, maybe to complicated for younger children and maybe not appropriate.

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